Coping One Day at A Time

I’m still not moving around like my former self. I make lunch for the kiddos and prepare my own small meals, but that’s about it. I still rest a lot and do a lot of thinking. (Which isn’t always the best.) I’m believing my HER2 results come back on Monday. My first test was inconclusive, so they had to test a portion of the tumor they removed. What that means for me is I do a lot of research on the type of cancer I had and what each test shows. I did all of this prior to my mastectomy, but I feel empowered somehow by gaining more knowledge.

I’ve been able to move my arm some, but I am surprised at my range of motion, or should I say lack thereof. I wasn’t really expecting how much my entire body would be affected by the surgery. Because of the DIEP Flap procedure, my back is very sore and I can only stand/walk for short periods of time. What I really want is to go to the gym and be normal. I don’t feel normal at all, part of me feels broken. It’s not because of the mastectomy (at least I don’t think so) but because of the cancer. Although I am now cancer free, I feel more affected by it now than when I was first diagnosed in November. Yes, I kicked its ugly, nasty ass, but there’s this gnawing feeling that lingers just under the surface. I feel like it is so close to the surface that everyone can see it, but it lies just below where it tempts me to succumb to its trap.   I fight back in my mind and remind myself that I am indeed cancer-free, but it doesn’t stop the thoughts completely. Each day I allow myself time to reflect for just a bit, but when the emotions seem too much, I turn it off and redirect my focus. I’m not sure that’s the best, but for today…it’s okay.

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Day 12 With My Foob

I’m 12 days post mastectomy. I’m feeling stronger everyday and getting around a little better. They removed the drains yesterday, and that made a big difference in how I get around. I’m finding sleeping to be difficult now, but I’m not sure why. Yes, I’m physically uncomfortable at times, but sometimes….I’m just uneasy. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I just don’t feel peaceful. My recovery is going well and I talk to God all the time, so there really isn’t anything to be un-peaceful about. I am so thankful for my life and for my family, and most of all for God’s love and grace. I have nothing to complain about…NOTHING! Now, that isn’t to say there aren’t things that I would like to complain about. 😉

After I received my diagnosis (I mean when I got in the car to leave the doctor’s office) I started making calls to the referred physicians, and made appointments. It helped me feel proactive, but of course there was a wait to see any specialists. That part kind of sucked, but it worked out great! My mom was able to fly in before any appointments and went to meet each doctor with me. My husband works insanely long hours and sometimes hours away from our home, so having my mom help was amazing. Would I have liked my husband there? Of course! He is my first choice, but for me there was a sense of guilt. I had this horrible disease that was going to affect our entire family. I wanted to make it as easy on them as humanly possible. Don’t judge me…I felt guilty for having cancer. My appointments, my moods, my energy level affected everything. My husband was incredibly supportive, but bottom line, somehow this was my fault and I felt guilt. When I really think about it, I still do. 😦

I spent the next few weeks going from doctor to doctor, learning about my options, and having a zillion tests run. On my way to my CT scan, I told a friend that with all this radiation, I was going to end up getting cancer. It was the first time a could smile about all the tests and results and numbers and….sigh.

With God’s help, we completed all my tests and appointments in time for my family to fly in for Thanksgiving. (This was planned months prior). Of course everyone tipped-toed around the subject, that is until my MIL (who lives with us) said one of the stupidest things I’ve heard. When I’m with my dad we usually drink a nice wine. Well, MIL wanted some and added water to it. We teased her that we would have gotten her a lighter rose wine.

Here’s the convo:

MIL: I’m 67 years old, so I can do whatever I want and you can’t tease me.

Me: I’m not 67 years old and still “choose” to do whatever I want.

MIL: No, you do whatever you want because of another “C” word.

OMG!!! The entire room went quiet, and my brother pipes up and says that I’ve been doing what I wanted long before this came along. 😉 I was a little embarrassed and of course the guilt crept back in. I know she was kidding, but my heart sank for a moment, at the thought that people would treat me differently. I just wanted to be me. I’m believing through this journey I will find that person again, and maybe be even better than before.

 

Another Journey…Really?!?!

A few months ago I began to journal some memoirs. I wanted to journey back and reflect on different events that shaped who I am today, believing it would help me make the changes I wanted to make. So….I wrote.

I found it difficult at times to go back and think about those uncomfortable moments of my adolescent years, but it did shed some light on why I think the way I do now and may have even prepared me for how I would handle one of the most difficult moments in my life, that was just around the corner.

Hind sight is truly 20/20, as I look back on the those months before my life would change; God was preparing me, nudging me, and protecting me, without me even knowing until November 10, 2015. That morning I woke with the determination to get the results from my biopsy that I had on the previous Friday. I called the doctor’s office, and they insisted I come in, they couldn’t give me my results over the phone. (Well, that has never happened.) I knew it was not good, but I also knew God would protect me. I called my husband and left a message to call me right back, and then called a long distance friend and made her talk to me as I drove to the office until my husband called back.

My blood pressure was high, my heart was racing, and I could not stand sitting in that sterile, cold examining room all alone. Finally, the doctor came in, she gave me that look (the look I would start seeing more and more as people found out). “It came back positive.” She said. “Positive for what?” I asked. I had to hear the words, I had to be 100% sure we were on the same page. “The tumor is positive for breast cancer.” She said looking me straight in the eyes.

My heart sank, as it does now as I am writing this. The words that frighten most women (and some men). The words that can stop you in your tracks and make you feel like you are living in some kind of parallel world. I cried. I knew I would be fine, I knew it would be removed and I would be fine. I had gone over all the possibilities that I could think of, as I was waiting on the results fro 4 days. But at that moment, I cried. I cried for me, for my husband, for our children, and for my family.

Four days later, my mom arrived ready to spend the next several weeks going to appointments, meeting doctors, and devising a plan of action. Our oldest didn’t really have a response to the news, our middle child was so pissed off, he just walked around mad for about a week, and our youngest…well we didn’t give her all the details (she’s 5). But she is the best nurse I have during my recovery, as I sit here on the couch.

My recovery has been wonderfully uneventful, and has given me a lot of time of time to think. I’m only a week post-op, and I am finally clear enough to think and reflect. Everything happened so quickly that I don’t think I even stopped to process any of it. I haven’t felt emotional until now, as I write down and remember those moments of realizations. I’m believing as I put this journey into words, it will reach those that need it and help anyone who is or has battled this ugly disease.

One last thing before I end this entry: Catching cancer in it’s early stages is AWESOME, but don’t ever (for a second) believe that it makes finding out that you have cancer any less scary. I never once doubted God’s protection, but guess what…I’m human and it was scary and it pissed me off! Please remember that if someone you know is diagnosed early, they need just as much support as anyone else.